Skip to comments.50% support decriminalizing marijuana: poll
Posted on 01/03/2003 9:58:54 AM PST by MrLeRoy
Half of Canadians want the federal government to decriminalize possession of marijuana, and support for relaxed laws is not confined to the young.
The new survey comes at a time when Justice Minister Martin Cauchon says he is going to remove simple marijuana possession from the Criminal Code, but his boss, Prime Minister Jean Chr?tien, isn't sure.
"It certainly says that we are a relatively liberal society on this issue," said Toronto pollster Michael Sullivan.
The U.S. has also warned against decriminalization, saying Canada should get over its "reefer madness" if it doesn't want to face the wrath of its largest trading partner.
The survey of 1,400 adult Canadians showed 50 per cent either strongly or somewhat support decriminalization, while 47 per cent are somewhat or strongly opposed.
The poll was conducted in early November for Maclean's magazine, Global TV and Southam News by the Strategic Counsel, a Toronto-based polling firm. The results are considered accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
The survey showed 53 per cent of Canadians under 40 support looser laws, while 48 per cent of people aged 40 and older want to see marijuana decriminalized.
Mr. Sullivan said there was less of an age gap than there is on other social issues, such as gay marriage and gay adoption.
"I guess we should think that marijuana smoking in general started in the 1960s so a lot of people now who are 40 plus are people who may have tried marijuana in the 60s," he said.
The survey also revealed men are more likely than women to favour relaxed laws and support is strongest among people with money. Fifty-three per cent of men said the government should act, compared to 48 per cent of women.
The findings are different than they are for most social issues, in which women tend to be more liberal than men, Mr. Sullivan said.
Support for looser laws also increased with income. Of those earning more than $100,000, 59 per cent want marijuana decriminalized. The pollsters speculated support is driven by education and affordability.
But the pollsters warned the government should proceed with caution because the results show almost half of Canadians oppose any law changes.
"This isn't 70 or 80 per cent saying let's do it, but it certainly suggests that this is something that should be vigorously debated and as you get more information, let's see where people stand on it," said Mr. Sullivan.
The poll results show British Columbia leads the pack of supporters, with 56 per cent in favour. Support in Ontario registered at 51 per cent, while 48 per cent of Albertans and Quebecers reported favouring looser laws. Support was lowest in Saskatchewan and Atlantic Canada, at 46 per cent in favour.
The Strategic Council did not ask Canadians whether they support legalization of marijuana. Rather the survey dealt with decriminalization, which would still make possession illegal, but people caught would be given a fine akin to a parking ticket rather than saddled with a criminal record.
But Mr. Sullivan suspects many of those surveyed did not distinguish between decriminalization and legalization.
Mr. Cauchon has rejected legalization, which was recommended by a Senate committee last summer, saying society still wants some sort of punishment for marijuana smokers.
Yup. The more liberal you are the more you want to legalize drugs. It's a liberal issue.
700 of 'em were stoned when they replied.
Nope---unless he meant "liberal" in the classical sense. When William Buckley supports looser pot laws it can't be rubberstamped as a "liberal" (modern sense) issue.
700 of 'em were stoned when they replied.
So you think that 50% of a random sampling of Canadians is stoned?
Another one being the advisibility of breathing air.
Several US states have already decriminalized---some of them for years. I'm unaware of any evidence that those experiments failed.
bye bye statists...looks like the game is over. the US may as well legalize it. In 2 years we will have such mind blowing hydro from vancouver, the statists don't want to miss out on their tax revenue.
Nahhhhhh it's gotta be higher than 50%. Otherwise they wouldn't have French as an official language.
This could be:
Strongly Support: 2%
Somewhat Support: 48%
Big difference. Any more info on the survey? Like a further breakdown of results or exact wording of the questions?
Addicts commit crimes to get the money for their expensive-becasue-illegal drugs. If drugs were legal, you'd have no more to fear from addicts than you do now from alkies.